Brangus Cattle Provide Answer to Food Insecurity

Brangus Cattle Provide Answer to Food Insecurity

  Photo: International Brangus Breeders Association

Photo: International Brangus Breeders Association

Scientists at the University of Florida are studying Brangus cattle in hopes of engineering a more heat-resistant breed capable of withstanding a warmer planet. Brangus cattle are a popular breed found in the US, Mexico, Australia, and parts of South America and Africa. These cattle take the high grade carcass quality of the Angus and cross it with the disease resistance, hardiness, and maternal instincts of the Brahman.

Global food security is a major concern as global temperatures begin to rise. With a 3 year and $733,000 federal grant, scientists like Raluca Mateescu, an associate professor of animal science at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Science are interested in the Brangus’ ability to regulate body temperature in high heat.

This project is made possible by utilizing new, advanced gene-editing technology. “The grant allows us to track down DNA segments from the two breeds and figure out which regions of the cow's DNA are important to regulate body temperature,” Mateescu says. “Development of effective strategies to improve the ability to cope with heat stress is imperative to enhance productivity of the U.S. livestock industry and secure global food supplies.”

While their research is just beginning at the University of Florida, it’s only a matter of time before this gene-editing technology yields results and new groups of heat-resistant, high-yielding cattle breeds make their way into pastures.

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